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Module Nine
The Administrative
State Today
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Lecture Summary

Sometimes referred to as the fourth branch of government, the bureaucracies which constitute the administrative state exercise legislative, executive, and judicial powers—a practice which Publius describes in Federalist 47 as “the very definition of tyranny.” Since its inception, the administrative state has undergone many changes and reforms, which have had profound effects on the way American national policy is made and implemented by Congress and the president. Originally a barrier to the implementation of the Progressive agenda, the judiciary today largely defers to the bureaucracy. These developments have produced a system which continues to erode America’s constitutional foundations.


Kevin Portteus is associate professor of politics at Hillsdale College, where he has taught since 2008. Dr. Portteus is faculty advisor for the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program, and teaches courses in American political thought and American political institutions.

A visiting graduate faculty member in the American History and Government program at Ashland University, Dr. Portteus formerly taught at Belmont Abbey College and Mountain View College, in Dallas. Having published online through the Washington Times, Human Events, and BigGovernment.com, his book, Executive Details: Public Administration and American Constitutionalism, is under review for publication. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Ashland University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in politics from the University of Dallas.

The Constitution 101
The Constitution 101